No matter what the role is in a K-drama, actors always give their 100-percent effort into bring their characters to life. Sometimes, they get roles where they play someone who shares the same job as them, a celebrity. That’s right, these talented stars get to spend time in their own shoes in front of the camera as part of the drama’s storyline, although the personalities they portray are not necessarily true to their real ones.
Here is a selection of actors who have played celebrities in K-dramas.
Warning: minor spoilers ahead!
Kim Woo Bin in “Uncontrollably Fond”
This melodrama stars Kim Woo Bin as Shin Joon Young, a terminally ill actor, and Suzy as No Eul, a documentary producer who stops at nothing to satisfy her materialistic ego. Previously childhood friends with history, the two lead characters reunite as adults and fall in love, but a shared incident from the past keeps them from ever being together.
Kim Woo Bin’s role as a famous movie actor and singer who’s dying of cancer is such a tearjerker. Despite initially portraying a cocky celebrity, he was able to perfectly switch to showing a more emotional and vulnerable person who was coming to terms with his own death.
Watch “Uncontrollably Fond“:
IU in “The Producers”
The events of “The Producers” take place on the sixth floor of a South Korean public TV station, where employees are keeping the variety department running by hosting late-night meetings and keeping tabs on filming and editing deadlines. Some of these employees are seasoned PD (producing director) Ra Joon Mo (Cha Tae Hyun), experienced PD Tak Ye Jin (Gong Hyo Jin), rookie PD Baek Seung Chan (Kim Soo Hyun), and superstar Cindy (IU).
IU plays the role of Cindy, a famous celebrity whose career kickstarted at the tender age of 13. Nonchalant and confident, Cindy earned the nickname “ice princess” for keeping her emotions under control. Albeit slightly differently, IU is also known for having complete control over her facial expressions and overall attitude, which helped her flawlessly portray this character.
Watch “The Producers“:
Sung Hoon in “I Picked Up a Celebrity On the Street”
Drunken and vindictive, Lee Yeon Seo (Kim Ga Eun) plots against her manager, only for top Hallyu star Kang Joon Hyuk (Sung Hoon) to end up being her victim by mistake. This first unfortunate encounter between the two lets Joon Hyuk believe that he’s been kidnapped, whereas Yeon Seo decides to hold him hostage to keep him from turning her in. How long will this charade last?
Ever so charming, Sung Hoon had no trouble delivering the classic celebrity persona. His character is a bit obnoxious and has psychotic tendencies, but he doesn’t refrain from showing love to his fans. Given his unfortunate situation, warming up to his abductor might be his most challenging task yet.
Seo Hyun Jin in “Beauty Inside”
Han Se Kye (Seo Hyun Jin) is an A-list actress with a peculiar secret that sparks rumors given her celebrity status. Seo Do Jae (Lee Min Ki) is an executive director at an airline company who suffers from prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize faces. Both leading mysterious lives, they cross paths and unexpectedly find solace in each other’s imperfections.
Despite sharing her character with other actors to highlight how her appearance changes every month for an entire week due to an unusual phenomenon, Seo Hyun Jin gracefully pulled off a mischievous portrayal of Han Se Kye.
Watch “Beauty Inside“:
Hong Jong Hyun in “Absolute Boyfriend”
Da Da (Minah) is a makeup artist who is in a secret relationship with popular actor Ma Wang Joon (Hong Jong Hyun), whose busy schedule puts an end to their couple status. Recently single and not yet ready to mingle, Da Da receives a package of a humanoid robot called Zero Nine (Yeo Jin Goo) that activates when they accidentally kiss, thus becoming her “boyfriend.” It’s all fun and games until an imminent threat puts Wang Joon back in the picture and starts a dysfunctional love triangle.
Hong Jong Hyun plays two roles in this drama, a human and an android. As his actor persona, he is short-tempered and careless towards Da Da, but his jealousy kicks in once another suitor wins her over. In parallel, his android character essentially upgrades himself into a better version of his human self in an attempt to become the absolute boyfriend for his ex-girlfriend.
Watch “Absolute Boyfriend“:
Jun Ji Hyun in “My Love From the Star”
Another A-list actress character is played this time by Jun Ji Hyun as Chun Song Yi, who is next-door neighbors with an alien named Do Min Joon (Kim Soo Hyun). Being polar opposites, the pair eventually finds a middle ground and starts developing feelings for one another as they get to know each other up close.
Jun Ji Hyun is well known for her goofy and wild roles, and Chun Song Yi is no different. She was able to bring this arrogant and blunt, yet lovable character to life, all while maintaining her charisma throughout the episodes.
Watch “My Love From the Star“:
Yoo In Na in “Touch Your Heart”
Oh Yoon Seo (Yoo In Na) is a famous actress whose career plunges when she finds herself wrongfully caught in a scandal. In an effort to save what’s left of her acting career, she takes on a secretary role in a drama written by a well-known screenwriter. Previously having been criticized for her bad acting, she finds a job as a secretary to help herself get into character and lands at the desk of Kwon Jung Rok (Lee Dong Wook), a perfectionist lawyer with zero tolerance for mistakes.
Yoo In Na often takes on cheerful roles, and this one is perhaps her liveliest one to date. Cute at times and silly at others, the portrayal of Oh Yoon Seo’s innocence and rebellion must’ve been as challenging as it is fun to watch!
Watch “Touch Your Heart“:
Highlight’s Yoon Doojoon in “Radio Romance”
Song Geu Rim (Kim So Hyun) is an assistant writer who dreams of becoming the main writer for a radio show. The opportunity finally presents itself under one condition: she must cast top celebrity Soo Ho (Yoon Doojoon) as the show’s DJ. With her childhood dream in mind, Geu Rim does everything in her power to get Soo Ho on board.
Yoon Doojoon plays a top class actor with a shining career and a dark life. His dual portrayal of a perfect life in the spotlight and a depressed state once in isolation is proof of his acting growth and dedication to bringing the many facets of his character to life.
Watch “Radio Romance“:
Which onscreen celeb role is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
Esmee L. is a Moroccan lively dreamer, writer, and Hallyu enthusiast.
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